The master potter

First Reading: Jeremiah 18:1-6
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 146
Matthew 13:47-53

I was very excited to hear this reading from Jeremiah in mass this morning, as I can personally relate to this reading. You see, in high school I became consumed by a love for pottery. I took ceramics and sculpture and really found myself in this art. It was just so amazing to me the time and dedication that it takes to create something such as these pieces of art. When making pottery, you start with this big lump of soft clay, you then knead it like bread so that you work out all of the lumps and get all of the air out. Then you put it on the wheel and let it spin around, it is here that it is very important that you center your clay on the wheel as it is spinning. If it is not centered and doesn't have a firm foundation, then you will not be able to work with it and it will always be off balance. From there it is a matter of concentrating and working with the clay to form it into whatever your plan for it was. Let me just tell you that when you are on the wheel or sculpting something, these is a great amount of focus and care for what you are doing. At these moments there is only the creator and the creation.

From the reading in Jeremiah today, the Lord sends Jeremiah to go to a potters house watch him work and then he will give Jeremiah a message. Jeremiah is watching this potter work with skill and detail when the Lord says; "Can I not do to you, house of Israel, as this potter has done? says the LORD. Indeed, like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, house of Israel." Do you see it? God our creator gives us such a great example here of how he can help us be exactly what he created us to be. We just need to let Him in and let ourselves be workable like the clay. As I explained above, when working with clay on a wheel, it is so important for the clay to be centered, otherwise it is off balance. Also just like the clay, we have to be centered as well; our lives need to be centered around Christ. If we do have a firm foundation set and a life centered around Christ, then he can start molding us into the person he created us to be.

In the book of Genesis it says that God created the heavens and the Earth, the sun and the moon (basically everything); and after each thing that He created it was noted that whatever He created "was good." The master potter created each of us for a purpose, and He has big plans for each of us if we let Him work with us and mold us into this "best version of ourselves" (quote from Matthew Kelley). Please do not get caught up into what we have planned for ourselves or what the world tells us is good. Trust the master potter, he has a life planned for us that is so much more than we could ever plan.

Center your life around God, let Him work out the "lumps", and let Him form and mold you as He has planned.

Father in Heaven, we humbly come before you asking for your help in our lives. We know that you are the source of all that is good and we ask for your will to be done in our lives. Lord increase our faith so that we might have a life that is more centered around you. We pray for those who are unwilling to let you into their lives, may you soften their hearts and open their minds to your plans in their lives. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Give it all to Him!

First Reading: Jeremiah 15:10, 16-21
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 59
Gospel: Matthew 13:44-46


When I mention this word what do you think of? Pirates of the Caribbean? Some guy with an eye patch, wooden peg leg and a parrot over his shoulder? While lots of images tend to come to mind, I always think of a group of rag tag guys traveling the globe looking for a great treasure. They always have a huge map with a giant X marking the spot of the treasure. I wonder throughout history, how many people not just pirates have searched high and low for a great treasure? I think that sometimes we go out searching for great things in our lives while ignoring the even greater things that are right in front of us. How many times do we seek great recognition at work or school, but ignore and sacrifice the relationships in our lives? How many times do we seek out what we want instead of what God is calling us to do?

From the gospel today we see that there is a great treasure right in front of us, it is the Kingdom of Heaven. According to the gospel the two men who came across the treasure and the pearl were willing to sell all that they had to possess it. This is what the Kingdom of Heaven is like. It is so important and so valuable that there really is no set price on it. It takes giving all that we have in order to acquire it. In the gospel today the two men sold all their possessions to purchase the items they came across. I believe that in order to come into the Kingdom, we need to give all that we have and all that we are to our Lord.

Our Lord Jesus suffered and sacrificed greatly for each of us so that we could have a way to enter the Kingdom. Jesus sacrificed for us, should we not also sacrifice for Him? Should we not completely surrender all that we have to Him, the giver of life? Remember, "whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (Matt. 16:25)"

We live in a society that constantly tries to sell us on get rich quick schemes. How many of us have been suckered into an ad or commercial telling us that if we just call we will not have to do any work to get rich? Well, it has been my experience in life that the things that are truly worth it are worth working hard for. Do you want to be thriving in your home, career, school, family, etc? Then you have to give of your self and sacrifice some (but remember there has to be a balance!). Do you want to be thriving in your relationship with Christ? Then you have to give it all to Him. Everything that you have and everything that you are; surrender to Him and you will find your life and the Kingdom.

Lord Jesus we thank you and give you praise for the lives that we are each called to. Lord help us to be patient and to follow your will for our lives. Lord we pray for those who are turned away from you and we pray for the youth of our world, we pray for their struggles and for them to have a solid faith built around you. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Do you believe this?

Memorial of Saint Martha

First Reading: Jeremiah 14:17-22
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 32:18-21
Gospel: John 11:19-27

When I was a little boy I like most kids my age believed in certain things, and no matter what you told me you couldn't shake what I believed. I believed that it really was the tooth fairy who left money under my pillow for each fallen tooth. I believed that it was Santa Claus who brought me all the wonderful toys that I received each Christmas morning; and there was no doubt that it was the Easter bunny who brought a basket full of goodies each Easter morning. I imagine that Martha had this same unshakable faith that we read about in the gospel today.

Here we find Martha in the midst of mourning over her brother Lazarus who had just died. When she hears that Jesus is coming she rushes out to Him. In the midst of her suffering, she knows the power of Jesus and submits to Him. She submits to His power and authority as the Christ, she doesn't question or ask anything of Him, just recognizes who he is and surrenders to Him. Jesus tells her: “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and anyone who lives and believes in me will never die." Then he asks; "Do you believe this?" Her reply is Yes; in the midst of her suffering, she has the courage to say "yes, I believe!" I pray that we can all find that kind of courage whenever we are in pain or are suffering.

Martha teaches us much here about surrender to God's will in our lives and about who we should put our faith in. It is very easy to get wrapped up in the things of this world, so much so that it seems as though we are putting all of our faith into things or people. But we need to be very much like Saint Martha here and give ourselves to Jesus and put our faith in Him. He is the "resurrection and the life" and if we believe in Him, we will never have to worry about death.

Do you believe this?

Lord Jesus, you are our savior and the giver of life. Help us to follow you more closely and to serve you with all that we are. Increase our faith and help us to build a foundation of our lives that is build around you. Lord, be with all those who are questioning their faith or who have fallen away help to bring them back to your everlasting love. Amen.


Bold examples

First Reading: Jeremiah 13:1-11
Responsorial Psalm: Deuteronomy 32
Gospel: Matthew 13:31-35

I remember during a football practice some of the guys on the line were not blocking as they should. So instead of simply yelling out the correct way to block, my offensive line coach decides to make a very bold move and show us the correct way to block. He goes on in (without any pads or helmet) with the offense and he tells the defensive people across from him (who all have full pads and helmets) to go full speed. We of course all thought that he was crazy for going in, but once the ball was snapped we saw a man who was able to go in without any protection and block several college aged guys in full pads. I will never forget this to this day, because instead of just telling us he decided that a bold example would be the best way of teaching us.

In the first reading today God has the prophet Jeremiah go through a series of steps to provide an example to the prophet. I am sure that while wearing and burying this loin cloth Jeremiah must have been thinking "okay now why on Earth am I messing around with this loincloth, isn't there more important things that I should be doing?" But after listening to the Lord it is revealed, the Lord doesn't simply tell Jeremiah how the people have turned away from Him, he likens them to this very bold example. I am sure after this, the prophet never forgot this. It is the same way as Jesus talks to the crowds. He explains things in parables, many of these parables and examples that Jesus uses are very bold. But he does this so that the people may make a connection with what he is saying, and therefore remember it.

There are bold examples happening all around us everyday, either through words or actions. Are you paying attention?

Father in heaven, grant us the wisdom and strength to go out and do your will each day. Help us to go out and serve you to our fullest and to give all of ourselves to you. Lord we love you and thank you for all that you bless us with. We thank you and give you praise for all that we have and all that we are. Lord, be with those who go without and need your healing power. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Me First!

Today is the Feast of Saint James the Apostle

First Reading: 2 Corinthians 4:7-15
Responsorial Psalm: 126
Gospel: Matthew 20:20-28

Throughout my work history I have been blessed to work with many summer camp and child care programs. One of the things that I constantly dealt with in all of these programs was the "me first" mentality. It was always apparent, no matter what we were lining up for, there was always arguments and fights in the lines amongst the kids of who was first. Many times because the two kids could not get along, I would send them both to the back of the line. Whenever there was a cookout or a snack, kids would seem to lose all sense of control in order to get their share before someone else. This is unfortunately a very common trait amongst kids, this is why it is important to model and teach good virtues such as love and patience. Unfortunately many kids carry this "me first" mentality into adulthood. I believe that this mentality is most apparent during Christmas time, people lined up at stores in order to get to an item or a big sale first. It is during these moments of the "me first" attitude that we lose focus of what our attitude should be, which is really "Christ first."
In the gospel today we see the "me first" attitude in effect. The mother of the sons of Zebedee is asking Jesus to place them high up in His kingdom, "one at your right and the other at your left." So what does Jesus do? He uses this as an opportunity to teach the behavior of a true follower of Jesus. His words are a powerful reminder of the mentality that we should keep every moment of our lives: "Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave. Just so, the son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many."
Want to be great? Do the opposite of what the world says and give up your place in line. Want to be like Jesus, then go out and serve, not be served. "Christ First."

Heavenly Father, we thank you always for the life that you have called us to. We thank you for the life and example of Saint James the Apostle. We pray for the strength and courage to surrender our wants and desires to you and to go out and serve you completely. Let us not think about ourselves first, but put the needs of others first instead. Lord we pray for all those who are hurting and need your healing touch Lord. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Look, Listen, and Feel

First Reading: Jeremiah 2:1-3,7-8,12-13
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 36
Gospel: Matthew 13:10-17

Do you ever find yourself daydreaming throughout the day? I know that I do, in fact sometimes I wonder how many hours of work we lose each year due to daydreaming. There you are in front of your computer screen working when all of a sudden a pleasant memory or a thought comes into your mind, before you know it about 20 minutes has passed. While it is fun sometimes to think back to good times or get lost in your thoughts, think about all the things going on while we are daydreaming. When we day dream, we are not focused on what we are doing or what is going on around us. It would be very easy during these moments to miss an opportunity to help someone or listen to someones wise advise. Perhaps you have even found your mind wandering during mass, perhaps during a prayer or during Father's homily. While none of us want to admit it, I am sure we are all guilty of not keeping focused during these important times.

In the gospel today Jesus tells his disciples:
“...blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear. Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”
Think about how blessed we are to be able to hear the word of God every day! All that we have to do is pick up our bible and read. But remember that Jesus is not only present in the word, but also in the world around us. He is always speaking to us and trying to make Himself present to us. It can be very easy to miss these moments where Jesus is trying to speak to us or reveal Himself to us. I still remember my kindergarten teacher explaining the different senses of the body to our class. She told us when exploring something we should use our senses and "look, listen and feel."

Today and every day, let us look to the example of the disciples and be aware of Jesus around us. Let our eyes and ears be open to Him and let us not be distracted by the things of this world. Remember look, listen and feel...keep focused!

Thank you Lord God for this day, help us use it to serve you and give you glory. Lord give us the diligence and reverence to keep focused on you and your will for our lives. We humbly surrender to you and pray for your mercy and forgiveness in our lives. Let us pray for all those who are not listening or looking for you. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Made for a Purpose

First Reading: Jeremiah 1:1,4-10
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 71
Gospel: Matthew 13:1-9

"What are you doing?" This is the question that I seemed to ask myself constantly as I was growing up and even many times into entering adulthood. I was always asking myself what I was doing because I was trying to figure out my life. I usually asked this question after a night of partying or after another breakup with a girl. But I believe during this time of my life, I didn't really want to know what I was doing in my life or why I was messing it up; but I really wanted to know what I am here for. "Why am I here?" "Why was I made?" After my conversion these are the questions that I began asking. I realized that I was asking the wrong questions to the wrong person (myself), I needed to sit down with our divine creator and ask Him why he made me and what His will is for me. I am not saying things have been easier since, but I have found much peace and joy from beginning to ask the right questions to the right person.

Made for a purpose. This is what I have discovered from asking the right questions. In the first reading today, the Lord tells the prophet Jeremiah "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you." Do you ever feel as though your life has no meaning or that you do not really matter? Well look to the prophet Jeremiah for comfort with this because it is clear here that we are all made for a purpose. Do not ever doubt for one second in your life that you do not matter, because you matter a great deal to God. And better yet, not only do you matter but he has a plan for you. He knew you before you were even born, he knows you better that anyone (including yourself). I know that at times it may not seem like there is any sort of plan and that things are just way to chaotic to make since, but that is where we just need to trust in the Lord. I also recommend that we each take a few moments each day to sit with our divine creator and ask Him;"Lord what is it that you want me to do." If we continue to ask and we trust and have patience, then he will reveal His plan to us for our lives.

Made for a purpose. There is great meaning in our lives, let us ask the right questions to the right person to understand.

Lord, we thank you and give you praise for this day. Help us to understand your plan for us in our lives and help us to go out and do your will each and everyday. Holy Spirit come to us increase our faith so that we may have the strength and courage to follow you where ever you will lead us. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Who is there like you?

Memorial of Saint Mary Magdalene

First Reading: Micah 7:14-15,18-20
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 85
Gospel: John 20:1-2,11-18

"Who is there like you?" These are the words from the prophet Micah today. Think about it, who is there like God? Who forgives as he does? Who loves as he does? Who accepts us as he does? Who listens as he does? Who is as wise as he? The answer: nobody. He is the great I AM, the maker of Heaven and Earth, the alpha and the omega. Nobody. Mary Magdalene knew that there was no one like Jesus, no one could cure her as he did. She knew that there was no one like him, so she followed him with such great devotion until the end. I pray that we can all have the courage to follow Jesus where ever he leads us, and to have the faith to stay with him until the end.

Father above, you are the source of all that is good and all that is right. Continue to open our eyes and our hearts so that we realize that there is no one like you. Lord we thank you and give you praise for all that we have and all that we are. We pray for those who have turned away from you and who choose not to accept your love. We ask this all through your name. Amen.


Life's Instruction Manual

First Reading: Micah 6:1-4,6-8
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 50
Gospel: Matthew 12:38-42

May the peace and joy of the Lord be with you always!

Have you ever tried to put together something like a book shelf or a desk without the instruction manual? I have attempted this a few times; you know the scenario, thinking that since I know what the finished product looks like then I can easily assemble this piece of furniture. Only problem is that putting together a desk or book shelf is not like a puzzle where only look at the picture helps. Each time I have tried to put together something without the instruction manual I usually end up turning back to the manual. It is just too difficult otherwise, so many pieces look the same or which screw goes with which part, it can get pretty confusing. That is why we are given this instruction manual, to help clarify things for us. It is so great to have step by step instructions and pictures of what our product should look like. I find that in moments where I use the manual I am trusting the person who designed this piece of furniture and relying on their wisdom and not my own.

A lot of times there are things in life that are not always clear and there are circumstances that we do not know how to handle. We know what we would like the end result to be, but we have no clue how to go about this. Well, let me tell you there is good news because there is an instruction manual for life! It is the bible, God's word for us! It is full of advice, guidance, secrets, tips and everything that we need to get through some of life's most difficult situations. And the great thing about this manual unlike any other is that you can actually speak directly to the author, God himself! Sorry there is not a 1-800 number that goes along with this, but through prayer we can ask the Holy Spirit to guide us and open our hearts and minds to the sacred scriptures.

In the first reading today we are given instructions on how we are to live for the Lord. The prophet Micah proclaims; "Only to do the right and to love goodness,and to walk humbly with your God." I think in our lives we tend to complicate things a lot and make solutions to problems much harder than they have to be. In this reading we are given very simple but also very difficult instructions on how to live. Among these instructions I know probably the most difficult for many of us (especially myself) is to walk humbly with God. Unfortunately many of us are built with an abundance of pride and most of the time our pride gets in the way of allowing us to walk humbly with God. But if we can just push that pride away and completely surrender it to God, then we will have no problems. Remember, these simple solutions are every difficult, so as you are working on these things in your life please do not get discouraged, call on the Holy Spirit, he will give you the strength and courage that you need.

What is great about the Catholic faith is that we not only have an "instruction manual" but we also have the wisdom of the church that has been around for over 2000 years! God does not simply just give us the supplies to go about building our lives around Him, he gives us the tools, instructions, and people to help! I do not believe that God ever sets us up for failure, that does not mean that we are never challenged, in fact we will always be challenged, but as St. Paul says in the book of Romans "Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer." (Rom12:12) No matter what we go through in life, God is there to get us through, all we have to do is ask.

Father in heaven, we ask for your grace to persevere in this life, to do what is right, and to serve you always. We ask this all through your name. Amen.


Sunday Postings

Brothers and Sisters, for future reference on Sundays I will only post the readings for you to refer to and reflect on. I pray that we can all continue to keep the Lord's Day Holy and to rest as he modeled for us in the beginning.

First Reading: Wisdom 12:13,16-19
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 86 (Lord, you are good and forgiving)
Second Reading: Romans 8:26-27
Gospel: Matthew 13:24-43

May the Lord Bless you and the rest of your day. Amen.


In His name we will Hope

First Reading: Micah 2:1-5
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 10
Matthew 12:14-21

Faith, Hope and Love...the three theological virtues. In the Catechism of the Catholic Church it says, "The theological virtues are the foundation of Christian moral activity; they animate it and give it its special character." Faith, hope and Love, these three virtues form the basis of which all our actions should be made. Today I would like to focus on one of these virtues...the virtue of hope. Today's gospel proclaims a great message of hope to us. As Jesus was curing all those who followed him, it says that he was fulfilling what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah. In this passage it says "In his name the Gentiles will hope." Christ is the great hope of us all, it is through him that we are saved and it is through him that we can make it to Heaven.

Hope...such a small word with such great significance. When we think about hope in terms of our faith, we have much to hope for. A place in heaven, an eternity in the presence of God worshiping Him with all the angels and the saints! Does this sound as good to you as it does to me? This is what God desires for us, he loves us so much that he wants to spend all of eternity with us, and he even sent His Son to us so that way we would have a way to get to Him. The Catechism has an exceptional definition on hope that says; "Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ's promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit..."

Where is your hope placed? Is it in earthly things, or in heavenly things?

Father above, open our hearts and our minds to your word in our lives today so that we might go and live out what is proclaimed to us today. Lord give us the strength and courage to serve you in this life so that we might be with you in the next. Lord, we pray for all those who are hurting and need you this day. Lord Jesus we ask this all through your name. Amen.


Mercy, not sacrifice

First Reading: Isaiah 38:1-6,21-22,7-8
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 38
Gospel: Matthew 12:1-8

Glory be to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

In the gospel today, the words of our savior are very clear; "I desire mercy, not sacrifice." When the Pharisees are coming down on the disciples for breaking the sabbath, Jesus points out their mindset of judging and condemning others. Jesus came to show us great mercy in our lives. I think that the first reading is an excellent example of God's abundant mercy. In the first reading Hezekiah is dying and he prays and weeps to the Lord. The Lord speaks through the prophet Isaiah to tell Hezekiah that "I have heard your prayer and seen your tears. I will heal you..." Wow, what a God of mercy we serve! There are times when we think that no one is listening and that no one hears our prayers, but God does. He is always there listening and ready to show his great mercy.

In the gospel today instead of judging his disciples, Jesus shows them mercy and declares this to the Pharisees. Shouldn't we do the same in our own lives? What if instead of judging people, we decided to treat them with the same unending mercy that we are shown every day. Aren't we all deserving of this type of treatment and respect?

We have all messed up and made many mistakes in our lives. And it is a very easy and bad habit that we can get into of pointing out the faults and mistakes of others instead of having an attitude of compassion. This is not to say that we should not face those who are sinning or that we should not address certain issues when we are in a position to do so, but we should treat those people with the respect they deserve as humans. One thing that I have come to love about the Catholic faith and something that I pray that I can always uphold and help protect is human dignity and the importance of life. We all are deserving of our dignity and and we are each created for a purpose, Jesus died for us all, who are we to judge a fellow person?

Father above, you created us with such a great capacity for goodness, let us act according to your will and act with compassion towards our fellow person. Let us learn from your Son that it is mercy that is the greater, not sacrifice. Let us see people as you see them so that we do not judge, but only love. We pray for those who are hurting and that they might turn to you for healing. Lord we ask this all through your name. Amen.


It is not us, it is Him

First Reading: Isaiah 26:7-9, 12, 16-19
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 102
Gospel: Matthew 11:28-30

Have you ever done something really well at work and got rewarded for it? Or remember in school taking the big exam and getting a high grade back on it? After all of these good things what went through your mind? Was it "Man I am so awesome, I am just the best!" or was it "Thank you God for blessing me with this ability and helping me achieve this goal." After each triumph who do you give glory to? Is it you or God? I know that I have to step back every single day and push myself aside and realize that it was not me achieved something, but rather God working through me.

As the prophet Isaiah says today in the first reading "O LORD, you mete out peace to us,for it is you who have accomplished all we have done." Isaiah points out our need for the Lord, and recognizes Him as the source of all that we are and all that we do. I am guilty of the bad habit of sometimes only turning to Christ when I am in trouble or am hurting, which is good, but it should not be the only time that I turn to Him. We need Jesus in our lives every day, not just when things are rocky, but also when things are going well and we are happy. One thing that often helps me is whenever I begin to do something new for the day, whether it be a new project at work, going for a run, or cooking a meal; I say a little prayer thanking God for this moment and the ability to be able to begin such a task. I then ask the Holy Spirit to guide me through the task and I pray that through this I can give glory to God. This definitely makes going about daily chores more of a joy. When seeing something as a gift from God rather than a burden, we can find more joy and peace in our lives.

Remember turn to Jesus at all times, he is always there for us. As we read in the gospel today: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,and I will give you rest...For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

How will you recognize the work of God in your life today?

Lord, you are the source of all that we are and all that we have. Let us turn to you always and give you the glory for everything that we do in our lives. Lord help us to surrender to you and to serve you with our lives. Open our hearts to your goodness and increase our faith so that we might go out and do your will. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Lord will not abandon his people

First Reading: Isaiah 10:5-7, 13-16
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 94
Gospel: Matthew 11:25-27

Happy Wednesday, thanks be to God!

Normally I do not comment on the psalms too much, but today's responsorial psalm caught my attention. "The Lord will not abandon his people." What a terrific message of hope! Have you ever been abandoned by someone, had someone betray you or turn their back on you? I think that we have all felt like this to some degree. I think that many of us have experienced this sort of thing with family members or in relationships. I remember a time in college when a girl that I was really head over heals for broke up with me. I was devastated and I felt so abandoned, I just couldn't understand why we broke up, especially when things were going so well. Of course I look back on this and realized that that relationship wasn't meant to be because God had someone else planned for me, which I am eternally thankful for! But at the time those feelings were real. Or have you ever had a time at work when you might have messed up and the boss is coming down on you, and it seems as if nobody is on your side at all or supporting you? That feeling of isolation is terrible and is hard to deal with.

But praise the Lord, for as the psalmist tells us that no matter what "The Lord will not abandon his people." Once again, what a terrific message of hope! I know that I have messed up in my life way more than I care to admit, but I find a lot of peace in knowing that while I have turned my back to God, he does not turn his back on me. This makes me want to strive even more to please him and not make the same mistakes. When you have someone who is always there for you, and always listens to you; don't you want to do everything in your power not to disappoint them? No this in no way gives us free range just to go out and do whatever we want because the Lord is always there for us, we need to be making some effort in this relationship to serve God with all that we are and to use whatever tools he gives us in this life to better love and serve Him. One such tool that we should be taking advantage of frequently (and not just during Lent!) is reconciliation. This is such a powerful tool in our lives, and as a convert, I never really understood this Sacrament until before entering the church and actually experiencing the grace that God gives through reconciliation. I encourage all those who have not been to confession in a while to make time to go soon, you will not be disappointed!

Remember the Lord will not abandon his people; and who are his people you ask? in the gospel today we see that his people are the childlike, not the learned or the wise, but those who have the faith of a child?

Father in heaven, let us be like children and have an unshakable and solid faith in you. Jesus you are revealed to the Father, so reveal the Father to us so that we might join you in heaven one day. We ask this all through your name. Amen.


Wake up and be firm!

Brothers and sisters, it is good to be back and be home. I recently returned from my honeymoon, rejuvenited and refreshed, I am very excited to be back and living with my wife in the vocation that God has called us to. Please keep us in your prayers as we begin to build the foundation for our family, a foundation built upon Christ.

First Reading: Isaiah 7:1-9
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 48
Gospel: Matthew 11:20-24

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Amen.

After reading the gospel this morning, one message stood out to me; Wake up! No, I was not falling asleep while reading or during mass this morning, but this message was pretty apparent to me while reading. In the gospel Jesus is speaking to the people of the towns in which he has been performing amazing miracles and healings, but the people of these towns are not allowing themselves to be moved by the spirit here so they are not repenting, they are just going about their daily lives as if nothing is happening around them. Jesus tells the people that they need to wake up and repent! He says that if the works that he is doing had been done many years ago, many of those wicked towns that we have read about in the old testament would have repented and turned to Christ, but since the people of Jesus' day are essentially "asleep" to him and his message, things are going to be pretty terrible for them. Since they are choosing to remain asleep, they are choosing for themselves an eternity of suffering and misery. I don't think that any of us want anything like that for our future or the future of anyone that we know and care about.

Jesus is here, with us now, we need to wake up to that fact. We need to turn to him, tell him how sorry we are for all the things that we have done and just surrender our lives to him. Then at the end of this earthly life, we might be blessed enough to hear him say to us; "Well done, good and faithful servant." I know how easy it is to get off track and "fall asleep." We live in a very busy and fast paced world, and there are many distractions and messages that go against our faith. But as was spoken in the first reading today, it says at the end that "Unless your faith is firm, you shall not be firm." We must have a solid foundation that is built upon Christ, and we must rely on the Holy Spirit to guide us in our daily lives. We must also as St. Paul describes in Romans, "Persevere in Prayer." By having a solid prayer life, we then build a good relationship with Christ, thereby "firming" up our faith. Not always an easy thing to do, but remember the reward at the end of the journey is so glorious and more that we could ever hope for or imagine. I pray that we all find the strength and courage to wake up and be firm in our faith, until the end.

Brother and sisters, today begins the twenty-third world youth day in Sidney Australia. Please pray for our youth everywhere and especially those attending this magnificent event. Please pray that they will be strengthened and return with a renewed love for Christ and the courage to share the good news with all those around them.

Lord, you are the source of all things that are good. Please increase our faith so that we might be firm in our faith this day and all days ahead. Lord, we pray for the strength to proclaim your message to the world and to not be asleep to your work in our lives. Let us always have our eyes on you and on the heavenly prize at the end of our lives. Lord, be with the youth this day, help them to be strengthened and renewed by your spirit that they might fall deeper in love with you and follow you without any hesitation. Lord we ask this all through your name. Amen.


Wednesday July 2, 2008

I apologize for not keeping up to date with the blog. I am in the middle of preparing for the sacrament of holy marriage. So blog entries for the next few weeks will not be prepared as usual. Thank you for your understanding and patience, and please keep us in your prayers the next several days.

First Reading: Amos 5:14-15, 21-24
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 50
Gospel: Matthew 8:28-34

What is it that you do when you are feeling tempted or are so consumed with something of this world? Who or what is it that you turn to? Work, the bottle, drugs, women/men, [insert your own self destructive behavior here]. When the two demoniacs in today's gospel who were possessed by demons came to Jesus. The met him on the road. And what happened here, Jesus drove out the evil spirits and sent the demons into the swine. No matter how bad things are or how consumed you feel you can always turn to Jesus. He is more powerful than anything that we know and his healing power is beyond anything that we can understand. Brothers and sisters when we are hurting let us turn to our savior who saves us from ourselves every day.

Lord, you are the source of all that is good and all that heals. Let us follow you at all times no matter the cost, no matter the hardships and suffering that we may endure. For a life with you is not easy, but it does give us great hope and joy. Lord, let us abide in you and you in us until the day that we join you and praise you for all eternity in heaven. Amen.


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